Lifestyle | Current Cravings: Home Decor

In September, Johnny and I will be moving into our first flat together. Moving in with a fella; does this mean I'm a proper grown up now? 

We've just got a studio flat for the time being. It's definitely going to be cosy and we're already looking at potential bigger places but for the time being it'll do us just fine. We're actually still going to be living within my current student accommodation for a number of reasons, so of course there are those frustrating regulations regarding what we can and can't do to make it our own. But don't you worry, I've popped my interior design hat on and I'm ready to make it work.

You know the drill with student accommodation decor; very beige and boring. But on the bright side I've got a blank canvas to work with, which is exciting. Like always, I've been browsing eBay like there's no tomorrow, tracking down bits and pieces that will help to make a flat our home without costing us a pretty penny. But whilst buying secondhand is something I love doing, it's always nice to kit your home out with some new pieces too. I have several go-to sites and stores for homey bits and bobs, and I thought I'd share some of the best pieces which have caught my eye and left me craving them.

1. 'Thank You Have A Nice Day' Cushion - Urban Outfitters 
I'm a sucker for a good cushion, especially when it is adorned with a cute little quote. Whilst I don't necessarily need another cushion, this one's too lovely to resist. Johnny has banned the vast majority of my cushions from our bed because they "take up too much room" but I'm hoping I'll be able to sneak a couple on there to jazz things up a little. If not, they'll make a lovely addition to our sofa.

This cushion is only available online here and retails at £20.00, but is currently on sale for £8.00.

2. Set of 2 Beauty & Beast Stacking Mugs - Sass & Belle
When browsing the haven that is the Sass & Belle website I came across these gems and I fell in love. I'm imagining cosy Sunday mornings in bed with his and hers mugs and a good bit of telly; sound's lush. And they stack, is there anything more satisfying?

This set of two mugs is available online here and retails at £7.50.

3. Set of 4 Rich Tea Biscuit Coasters - Sass & Belle
How gorgeous are these rich tea biscuit coasters? Definitely a sentence I never thought I'd say but hey ho. They're made from sustainable mango wood and resemble what are arguably the best biccies going. The perfect addition to any coffee table.

This set of coasters is available online here and retails at £13.00, but is currently on sale for £4.60

4. Kiss Me Goodnight Nautical Sign - Not On The High Street
I live by the rule that you should always kiss your partner goodnight and tell them you love them, especially if you've not been the best of friends that particular day. This sign embodies that idea, so as you can imagine I've fallen in love with it. It would look really lovely on one of our bedside tables,

This sign is available online here and retails at £8.00

5. The Spirit Of Christmas Metallic Lantern - Sports Direct
Put your hands up if you didn't know Sports Direct sold homeware? I definitely didn't, but it was a pleasant surprise as there are some real gems on their website. I've fallen weirdly in love with this metallic latern from The Spirit Of Christmas. The gold glitter finish is a tad on the tacky side but I actually love it even more because of that. The lantern features a flame-less candle which tackles the no-candles rule in our new flat; fantastic.

This lantern is available online here and retails at £3.00.

6. Get Naked Retro Wall Plaque - Sass & Belle
What a cheeky little plaque, I'm in love. I think this would be a great decorative touch to our en-suite. The ornate and retro look is exactly to my tastes also, so what more could I ask for?

This wall plaque is available online here and retails at £7.50.

7. Linens and Lace Shimmer Rug in Duck Egg - Sports Direct
There's nothing better than the feeling of sliding your feet out of bed in the morning and them landing on a super soft rug. I'm a sucker for anything in the colour 'duck egg' - the colour scheme for several rooms in my family home, including my bedroom - so I couldn't resist adding this rug to my new flat wishlist.

This rug is available online here and retails at £37.99

8. Ministry Of Magic Sign - Primark
Johnny and I are both super Harry Potter nerds so it would only be right that our first home together was kitted out with at least a little bit of magical merchandise. I've been so tempted to buy this sign since I first saw it in Primark stores. I want to pop it above the toilet in our en-suite for the pure reason of the fact it'll make me giggle every time I go in there.

This sign is available in store and retails at £4.00

Are there any home decor items you're craving at the moment?

Blogging | 4 Things To Do When You're In A Blogging Slump

We're all know what it's like to be in a blogging slump. Been there; done that; got the T-Shirt.

In my mind, the term 'blogging slump' simply refers to that rut you sometimes find yourself in where you're completely unmotivated and uninspired to open your laptop and do anything blog related. This rut often comes with feelings that your content is not good enough, and it truly sucks.

I've experienced more blogging slumps than I could keep count of, so today I thought I'd share four things I do to help me pick myself back up following the blogger blues.

1. Give Your Blog A Little Refresh
I find a good spring clean always helps me to refresh my mind and get my blogging booty back into gear. You could keep things simple and just give your about page a little spruce up, or rejig your tabs. Or if you feel like going the whole hog you could consider giving your whole blog design a makeover. 'New design, new me' and all that jazz.

2. Read Other Blogs
Forget about your blog for a moment and get your nose into other peoples. Get reading blogs you've loved for years and get discovering new beauties to follow. Seeing the fabulous content other bloggers are creating will help to inspire you and fill you heart with love for the blogging world again. 

3. Switch Off Your Laptop
One of the best ways I've found for getting out of a blogging slump is to, quite literally, switch off. Let your laptop have a little snooze, pop your phone away and enjoy some freedom away from the world of social media. Bloggers brains are often trying to do 101 things at once, as blogging really is a lot of work to take on especially if you already work full time/study/are a parent etc. Stepping away from the blogging world and having a bit of a chill, whilst also getting your other affairs organised, will help you to feel refreshed and ready to start again. I've also found that time away helps me to find the motivation to blog as I find myself missing it immensely. 

It's important not to set a time frame on this technology-free time; don't rush your recharge. It may last an hour; a day; a week; a month; maybe more. But that's ok, don't engage back into the blogging world until you feel revived and rejuvenated.

4. Make a List of Ideas For Posts 
Sometimes you'll find yourself in a blogging slump with a billion ideas but no idea how to move forward with them. So get brainstorming: write a list; make a moodboard; draft a mindmap; whatever floats your boat. You can consult the likes of pinterest for post ideas or dreamy photo inspiration, and read all your typical lifestyle magazines to track down articles which might light an inspiration spark in your mind.

What do you do when you're in a blogging slump?

Thoughts | Is There A 'Right Age' To Get Married?

The average age for a woman in the UK to marry is 30 (for fellas it's 32), but if you were to ask most 'millenials' they will express a preference to marry in their twenties. When I consulted twitter, I found that 41% of people considered 22-25 being the prime age to tie the knot. 

I'm just about to enter my twenties and it's baffling how much our lives - in terms of relationships - can vary from one another during this decade. When I consider my peers from school there is so much variation in regards to which 'life stage' we're at as we approach our twentieth birthdays. A few are married; some engaged; some parents.  A fair few of us (myself included) are in long-term relationships - within which the prospect of 'putting a ring on it' has been discussed - and a percentage of people are still playing the field, if you will. 

But is there a 'right age' to get married? 

Personally, I've always aspired to get married in my mid-twenties. My parents married at twenty-three and are about to celebrate their thirtieth wedding anniversary, so the potential joy of 'growing up together' as well as growing old together is something I've subconsciously been aware of for a long time.

 Many of our ideas on the right age to marry will have been shaped by the ages that our parents and other family members walked down the aisle; we'll expect ourselves to follow suit and follow a similar timeline in our own love lives. We must however consider the change of societies expectations regarding relationships and it's effect on the age of marriage. Now we're in an era where pre-marital sex and cohabitation is accepted, almost as the norm, there's less of a rush to tie the knot. So do we really need to marry as young as we're expecting ourselves to?

A persons aspirations are also likely to impact on their readiness to marry. I know people who chose to spend their twenties exploring the world solo, before they settled down; people who wanted to do the education thing or the career thing before they head in the direction of wedding bells. But equally there are people who wanted to do all of these things with their partner by their side; people who have already found their best friend and want to enjoy the adventures of life alongside them.

Of course it goes without saying that the age we move from Miss to Mrs will depend on when you meet that right person. If you find them when you're still young you'll be more likely to tie the knot early, but if you take a little longer to find the other half of you it might be a later wedding. But it's a fact that some people just aren't looking for anyone to settle down with just yet, so may not find themselves open to the idea of meeting a long term partner. It's all down to personal preference and what stage of life you're currently in. 

Whilst many people would say it's important to learn who you are yourself before committing your life to another human being, I want to bring to the conversation the fact that you can also grow and develop as a person within marriage/a long term relationship. I don't think there's a real magic number for getting married, it's all dependent on personal timelines and preferences. 

Whilst researching for this post I came across the most fascinating article on the topic - written by a wonderful journalist - which states something I believe best summarises my conclusion about the 'right age to get married'; that it is entirely dependent on the couple themselves.

 "I want to add to this conversation by saying that the perfect age to get married has nothing to do with the years you’ve lived, and everything to do with how you’ve lived them. Call me crazy, but I don’t think you can quantify a person’s preparedness for marriage simply based on how many years they’ve been alive."

Do you believe that there's a right age to get married?

Beauty | My Five Favourite Lush Skincare Products

It's no secret that I'm a Lush fan; my skin lives and breathes Lush products. With their super duper natural ingredients, to die for scents and fantastic results, its a tricky task to pick which one of the Lush lotions and potions is your can't-live-without gem. 

I'd thought I'd share some of my favourite beauties from the gods over at the Lush Kitchen. This is just a handful of the products I'll never hesitate to buy over and over.

Mask of Magnaminty Face and Body Mask
This little skin saviour is my favourite of the Lush masks. Its gentle yet effective ingredients are a dream come true for someone with acne prone skin. I use this mask to give my skin a little bit of TLC three or so times a week and it works wonders at calming and rebalancing skin, whilst attacking any breakouts.

Mask of Magnaminty retails is priced at £12.50 for 315g.

Celestial Facial Mosturiser
Celestial is my holy grail moisturiser. It's perfect for keeping your skin in tip top condition, even in the horrible weather conditions we've been facing lately. It has a gorgeous vanilla scent, thanks to soothing vanilla water, and truly moisturises your skin like its nobody's business. This is definitely one of the pricier items within the haven that is the Lush skincare range but a little definitely goes a long way with this product and it's moisturising super powers are definitely worth the pennies.

Celestial retails at £15.95 for 45g.

Ultrabland Facial Cleanser
I've already given this product a lot of love here on my blog. This skin-improving potion is a real gem for removing the days makeup, as it contains beeswax which works to melt the waxes found in makeup leaving your face slap-free and squeaky clean. I've found Ultrabland to be really quick at getting down to business; just a few days of use leaves your skin feeling soft and supple whilst tackling any pesky blemishes and really transforming your skin.

Ultrabland retails at £7.95 for 45g.

Ro's Argan Body Conditioner
So maybe this isn't a skincare product as such, but it works wonders on your skin so I thought it only fair to give it a mention. It has a beautiful rose fragrance and really pampers your skin, leaving it feeling soft and nourished. It's a brilliant way to really jazz up your shower routine, giving your skin a little bit of a luxury treat.

Ro's Argan retails at £16.95 for 225g.

Ultrabalm All Purpose Balm
This little pot of joy works wonders on your dry bits and bobs. You can pop it anywhere that's feeling a little on the dry side, but I find it works best on your lips and on harder bits of skin such as your elbows, knees and heels. I actually own two pots of this little gem, one is kept in my bathroom and one in my makeup bag for taming lashes and eyebrows when needed.

Ultrabalm retails at £10.50 for 45g.

What are your holy grail lush products? Am I missing out on any gems?

Thoughts | A More Mindful Approach To Social Media

I recently went for coffee with one of my closest friends and remembered to ask her about the sudden disappearance of her Instagram account. Her response? She had deleted it because she wasn't enjoying having it anymore; it wasn't healthy for her. Hearing this has made me consider the impact social media usage has on my life, and the ways I can change this for the better.

The most significant effect I believe social media has on us as a population is in terms of comparison; comparing yourself and your life to those which you see on your feeds. One click onto a social media site and your eyes are greeted by the highlight reels of peoples lives. Instagram in particular can lead you to believe that each morning girls are jumping out of fairy-light adorned beds wearing satin pj's and heading downstairs to eat avocado on toast against a white marble background. The reality? They're practically rolling out of bed wearing an over-sized tee with toothpaste stains and are going to eat coco-pops in a messy kitchen. But of course we don't see that aspect of peoples lives, we only see the perfect 'Instagram lifestyle'. 

We also strive for unattainable perfection. There is such a pressure for our lives to be 'Instagram worthy' in order to impress people who are, let's be honest, a bunch of strangers. If I'm completely honest, there have been a number of blog photo sessions which have left me in tears because I've been unable to attain the perfection that we see across social media. Youtube is at a significant level of fault for continuing this idea of perfection, in my mind. It's full to the brim of 'What I Eat In A Day' or 'My Morning Routine' videos where the lifestyles being shown are so primed and polished, in order to make them worthy of social media, they barely resemble the persons actual life. 

So what am I going to do to change the way social media ideals consume my life? 

As harsh at it sounds, I have unfollowed those who have feeds which - no matter how gorgeous - bring me down and followed those who build me up mentally. I'm a fan of instagram feeds that may not follow a theme; the more higglidy piggldy the better for me. I like instagram feeds that show personality, those that don't just show polished flatlays and perfect selfies. As a
blogger, unfollowing people is not something I enjoy doing at all but it's important to identify when you need to put yourself first even if it does seem 'rude'. Twitter is a much easier one to tackle thanks to the mute button. 

I'm also striving to continue to make my own social media accounts, and my blog,  realistic and honest. There's a lot of pressure for bloggers to put on the perfection charade in order to be 'successful'. After all, the vast majority of hugely influential content creators are those who share their 'perfect' lives on social media. It's become the done thing to have flat lays coming out of your ears and to have every photo as brightened as Simon Cowell's teeth. But blogging is about sharing personal experiences, views and reflections based on our actual lifestyles, not our lifestyles when you look through rose-tinted glasses. 

In the past few days, when accessing social media sites, I've made an effort to be more mindful of my usage of social media. My new mantra for when I'm scrolling through my phone is "these are merely appearances, nothing more". 

What is your view on the impact social media can have on us?

Thoughts | Why It's Ok To Cut Out Toxic People

In Autumn of last year I found myself in a bit of a rut with my mental health. I had just started university and, of course, society sees university as a time where you should be making tonnes of new friends everyday, and that puts a real pressure on introverts like me. I didn't gel with anyone really straight away but found myself forcing myself to spend time with people because it was the done thing. This unfortunately did have a negative impact on me as these people were rather toxic and impacted on my mental health considerably. When I was recovering from period of being rather mentally unwell I reflected on what had led to me getting to that point and one of the triggers was without doubt who I had surrounded myself with. The people I surround myself with should lessen my stress rather than be a source of it, and this really wasn't the case. I've come to the conclusion that yes university is a time to meet new people you get on well with but that'll happen eventually and you know what, it's better to spend time alone than to spend it surrounded by negative and toxic people. 

It's a fact that the people in your life can have a rather powerful impact on you. Therefore it's important to fill your world with people who do nothing but bring you up, and wave goodbye to those who tear you down.

Identifying when a relationship is toxic can be tricky, especially if like me you're one to give people second, third and forth chances after they hurt you. A key identifier is how you feel following interactions with them, if you feel drained then that's a clear sign you should step away for a while. More often than not, however, toxic people can identify themselves to you through their behaviours. For example, a clear cut sign of a toxic person would be someone who never comes through for you regardless of what you do for them. We've all experienced people like this.

People who disrupt and threaten your happiness do not deserve to be a part of your life, so give your contact list a spring clean (well winter when you consider the current UK weather but you get my drift) and get rid of any toxicity. Fill your life only with those who bring you peace, rather than conflict and stress; those who love you rather than hurt you.

It's important to spend time only with those who are good for your mental health. Priortise your well-being and silently step away from anyone that isn't a positive soul. It's not selfish or bad to put yourself first, don't think that for a second. Negative people will stunt your own growth as a person and therefore it is completely ok to wave goodbye to them. Let's leave toxic people behind.

Lifestyle | Treating Your Mamma When On A Budget

On Sunday 11th March it is Mother's Day. You're welcome for the reminder. 

My mamma is a real gem, and she deserves to be treated as such. Unfortunately though, my purse strings are a little tight at the moment and therefore the extravagant gifts she deserves are definitely out of my reach. Mother's Day seems even more significant this year as it is my first since moving away from home; even more reason to shower my mum with love when Sunday arrives.

I've had a ramble through the masses of online shopping havens to track down some budget friendly pressies you could treat your mum to; or any other mother figure in your life for that matter, be it grandma, auntie, friend or other loved one.

1. For The Tea Lover... 
Modern Monochrome Mum Time Teapot For One - Sass and Belle
I've never met a mum who doesn't like a good cuppa, so a teapot is the perfect gift. Mum's are always here, there and everywhere so this makes a great gift if you want to encourage your mamma to take a little time for herself. To jazz up this gift I'd be tempted to make a small little hamper of tea bags, biscuits etc to go with it. Just to add a little personal touch.

This teapot is available online here and retails for £14.00.

2. For The Sweet Tooth
Thorntons Personalised Pudding Box - John Lewis
Would it be a Mother's Day gift guide without chocolate getting at least a little mention? Thorntons do some of the best chocolate going (in my humble chocolate loving opinion) and the personalised nature of their boxes really adds a bit of sparkle.

This box is available online here and retails at £8.50.

3. For The Sentimental...
Petal Heart Photo Frame - John Lewis
Mum's love putting photos up here there and everywhere, and this frame would make a beautiful addition to any mantelpiece. To make the gift extra special you could have a photo printed you know your mum loves and pop it in there before you wrap it up. 

This frame is available online here and retails at £8.00.

4. For The Green Thumb...
Personalised Enamel Planter - Not On The High Street
If you're mum's one with a green thumb then this personalised planter would make the perfect gift. You could even pick her up a little plant for them to pop in it, if you know your daffodils from your daisies. 

This planter is available online here and retails at £12.00.

5. For The Phone Addict...
Ted Baker Rakisha Kyoto Gardens iPhone Case - John Lewis
If your mum is a social media star then why not treat her to something new to jazz up her pride and joy. Ted Baker make the most beautiful phone cases, a gift your mum is guaranteed to love.

This case is available online here and is currently on sale for £15.00 (reduced from £30.00).

6. For The Book Worm...
Roald Dahl Matilda Mug - Truffle Shuffle
If your mum is a bit of a book worm then - firstly give her a high five from me - why don't you treat her to an appropriately themed mug to keep her company when she's got her nose in a new title. 

This mug is available online here and retails for £9.99.

7. For The House Proud...
LED Lit 'Home Is Where The Heart Is' Sign - Find Me A Gift
Does anyone else have a mum to loves to fill the house to the brim with things adorned with quotes? The wooden look of this sign has a real rustic vibe but the LED lights mean that it would add a real homely touch to any Mamma's living room.

This sign is available online here and is currently on sale for £5.99 (reduced from £7.99). What a bargain!

What are you planning on getting your mum for Mother's Day?